Africa has unveiled a new plan to manage its swelling elephant numbers. This culling proposal has in recent years split conservation groups.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) opposes the culling programme stating that, “It is cruel and dividing elephant families.” They think cross-border megaparks and contraceptives programmes are the best solution.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), on the other hand, is applauding the government’s move stating that, “It is necessary to protect other species and especially native plants from the swelling numbers”. They also state, “Given elephant’s ability to transform an entire landscape, action is needed, or the result will be mass starvation of elephants and other species.”
The elephant culling will take place in the famous Kruger park. Thousands of the country’s 20,000 elephants are targeted for slaughter.
Animal rights organisations are warning and threatening with boycotts, mainly from European countries. Threats of boycotts have, however, had minimal impact in pro-whaling countries so far.
The animal rights organisations are concerned that commercial interests in elephant trade (meat, skin, ivory) are an underlying motive for the culling. South Africa wants to lift the ban on ivory trade.
The debate on elephant culling raises the issue: Is it acceptable to kill wild animals for utilization of natural resources?
There is some more information at Planet Ark.